What You Missed In The Ohio Senate Race During The Holidays

The final few weeks of 2011 brought us more of the same from Josh Mandel’s ethically challenged campaign—a refusal to stand up for Ohio’s middle class while ignoring criticism over his decision to abandon his job as Treasurer and run for Senate after just weeks on the job.

In fact, Josh Mandel’s campaign literally admitted that he will continue to dodge the press. It’s no secret that Josh Mandel has a history of refusing to answer questions about numerous pressing issues facing our state, but a recent Plain Dealer story takes it to an entirely new level. Responding to the PD’s assertion that Josh Mandel has refused to take a position on extending the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, or Chinese currency manipulation, Mandel’s handlers flat-out confirmed that his stonewall would continue throughout the campaign.

“For the next year we're not going to pretend like he's there and voting on every bill that's introduced or that's on the floor. We'll leave that to Senator Portman, Speaker Boehner, the Congressional delegation, and Senators like Sherrod Brown…”

There you have it straight from the Mandel campaign. Whether it’s because Josh Mandel doesn’t “have any idea what’s going on” or he’s simply content with “throwing cheap shots” and “refusing to stand up” and discuss the issues, Josh Mandel has made it clear he wants to be elected Senator despite refusing to stand up for the middle class on the most important matters facing Ohio.

Mandel’s arrogant belief that he shouldn’t be held accountable on the issues (much like his refusal to disclose his finances) drove the Akron Beacon Journal to blast him in a recent editorial.

“Mandel missed the deadline for filing his financial disclosure papers with the Senate. More, he couldn’t find time to speak in Akron, telling the Press Club no thanks, seven months after the invitation arrived. If he did speak? He would need to elevate his game. What distinguishes Mandel the Senate candidate so far, beyond his formidable fund raising, has been his lack of readiness, unsteady on the issues, throwing wild punches, in need of the seasoning a full term in the treasurer’s office would provide.”

While Josh Mandel was busy dodging both the issues and the voters, Senator Sherrod Brown was busy supporting more than 1,000 Ohio workers locked out of the Cooper Tire Plant in Findlay and standing shoulder to shoulder with Ohio law enforcement in support of a “national Blue Alert system aimed at capturing criminals who injure or kill law enforcement officials.”

Perhaps that’s why there’s been more D.C. special interest money spent to attack Sherrod Brown than any other Democratic senate candidate in the country?

Neighboring Governor Says His First Year Wasn’t Bad Because John Kasich Was Such A Failure In Comparison

HARRISBURG – The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported over the weekend that an internal memo from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s office stated that Corbett’s first year as governor was successful because John Kasich and other Republican governors have thus far been total failures.

The Patriot-News noted that Corbett’s administration called Senate Bill 5 a “controversial collective bargaining law” that “was resoundingly defeated” by voters. A Corbett spokesman defended the memo, saying it was intended to compare the Pennsylvania Governor’s record to that of other governors – and saying that the memo’s assessments “factually” laid out Kasich’s record.

Read the Harrisburg Patriot-News story here.

John Kasich earned the distinction this year of being the nation’s most unpopular governor. His brash conduct and inappropriate comments, as well as his attacks workers, women and voters, have turned off Ohioans.

“Don’t take our word for it – just ask John Kasich’s fellow Republican governors,” said Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Seth Bringman. “One neighboring Republican governor publicly disagreed with those like John Kasich who did not support efforts to rescue our auto industry. Another neighboring Republican governor mocked Kasich for championing Senate Bill 5. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. From his attacks on workers’ rights to voting rights to women’s rights, John Kasich has pursued an extreme agenda that has failed our state.”

Highlights of Governor Kasich’s first year in office include:

• Sending 16,000 infrastructure jobs to other states. [Examiner, 11/6/10]

• Running his administration in secret. [Columbus Dispatch, 1/5/11]

• Giving huge salary increases to his political cronies. [Innovation Ohio, 9/28/11]

• Compiling a non-diverse cabinet that doesn’t reflect Ohio. [Plain Dealer, 1/13/11]

• Unconstitutionally appointing an out-of-state Development Director. [Plunderbund, 3/18/11]

• Turning over economic development to a board that operate in secret. [Morning Journal, 2/9/11]

• Saying that those who want transparency are “hurting our kids.” [Plain Dealer, 12/16/10]

• Telling an African American State Senator, “I don’t need your people.” [Politico, 1/28/11]

• Threatening to run people over with a bus if they didn’t agree with him. [Plunderbund, 1/22/11]

• Calling a police officer an “idiot.” [Columbus Dispatch, 2/16/11]

• Charging taxpayers for security upgrades to his home. [Columbus Dispatch, 1/2/11]

• Becoming the most unpopular governor in America. [Huffington Post, 9/30/11]

• Increasing state government spending by $5 billion. [Executive Budget FY2012-13, submitted 3/20/11]

• Cutting $3 billion from education. [ibid]

• Imposing back-door tax increases. [ibid]

• Cutting funds for local services like fire departments by 50 percent. [ibid]

• Wasting taxpayer money on excessive flights in his two taxpayer-funded planes. [Dayton Daily News, 5/16/11]

• Supported anti-choice legislation. [Reuters, 7/20/11]

• Signing a voter suppression bill into law that makes elections less fair and less accessible. [Columbus Dispatch, 9/28/11]

• Taking credit for auto industry success even though he did not support recovery efforts. [Chronicle Telegram, 12/7/11]

• Operating in secret as a member of the Apportionment Board. [Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting, 12/16/11]

• Signing into law an unfair, undemocratic and gerrymandered Congressional map. [Associated Press, 9/22/11]

And most importantly:

Championing an anti-middle class collective bargaining law that was overturned by 62 percent of voters.

Speaker Boehner’s Neighbors Say: If Republican House Fails To Act, Middle Class Taxes Go Up

Boehner’s Tea Party-Run Caucus Would Rather Score Political Points on President Obama Than Pass His Payroll Tax Cut For 5.8 Million Ohioans

Democrats Also Unveil Democrats.org/payroll: E-Countdown to GOP Tax Increase on 160 Million Americans

COLUMBUS – Today, those who know Speaker John Boehner best – his neighbors and Southwest Ohio constituents – denounced his Tea Party-run Republican Caucus for refusing to pass a $1,500 extension and expansion of President Obama’s payroll tax cut, which the U.S. Senate passed in a bipartisan 89-10 vote earlier this week. The payroll tax cut that President Obama and Democrats championed as part of the Recovery Act will expire in just nine days unless House Republicans join Democrats in passing its extension and preventing an immediate $1,000 tax increase on 5.8 million Ohioans.

As part of a broad campaign to urge Republicans to put middle class families before scoring cheap political points on President Obama, Democrats introduced Democrats.org/payroll yesterday, a website that counts down the days, hours and minutes until Republicans’ political posturing results in higher taxes for 160 million Americans.

View the website here.

“Last year President Obama lowered the payroll tax so hard-working Cincinnatians and Ohioans across our great state can keep more of what they earn and help our economy grow. The President wants to keep and expand that low rate, but Republicans in Congress and candidates for president want to raise it,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “By threatening to raise taxes on the middle class, Republicans are reminding the country whose side they're on: If you're wealthier than 98 percent of the country, fly in a corporate jet, or represent a special interest or large corporation, Republicans will fight tooth and nail to make sure you're exempt from paying your fair share. But if you're like nearly half of all Americans and pay a payroll tax on most of what you earn, self-proclaimed anti-tax Republicans want to raise your taxes.”

Cincinnati small business owners Michele and Gary Fisher, who own the downtown Bagel Shop, urged Speaker Boehner and his Tea Party caucus to put partisanship aside and prevent small business owners like them from suffering a $1,000 tax increase.

“At the end of this year, because of Republicans in Congress, our taxes will go up by $1,000, unless the Republicans in Congress put aside their partisan games and work with the President and Congressional Democrats to pass another payroll tax cut. We don’t know about the Republicans and their friends, but our business, BAGEL STOP, has been a ‘Job Creator’ for close to 30 years, and our family and our small business can’t afford to lose $1,000 right now,” said small business owners Michele and Gary Fischer. “And most of our ‘Job Creating’ small business owner friends can’t either. Extending the payroll tax credit isn’t just a step toward economic recovery – it will immediately impact ALL people right here in Southwest Ohio. An extra $1,000 helps families and small businesses all across Ohio who are trying to pay their bills and keep the lights on.”

They added, “It’s time for the Republicans to put their hypocrisy and politics aside and start thinking about the backbone of our nation’s economy – small business owners and working families.”

Bill Dudley, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Representative in Southwest Ohio, said the payroll tax cut extension and expansion was more than just “a temporary little Band-Aid,” as Republican pcandidate Mitt Romney described it before reversing himself – again – when it was clear that voters didn’t want a middle class tax increase.

“At this time just last year, Republicans and Democrats joined together to provide a $1,000 payroll tax cut for the typical middle-class family in Ohio and across the country. But now, a year later, House Republicans would rather keep playing politics with the livelihood of these families than put $1,000 back in their pockets. For hard workers, like those I represent, $1,000 is not a ‘temporary little Band-Aid’ as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated. It means that many of them will able to better provide for their families. It means they may be able to take one weekend off. It means they may get a little help sending their kids to college.”

Dudley concluded, “The fact that Republicans won’t even vote on the tax cut, even though independent economists say it would add up to a million jobs nationwide, is reprehensible. Now is the time for Congress to follow through on doing its job, just like hard-working Ohioans are doing each and every day.”

Ohio Democrats Hammer Boehner, House Republicans For Playing Political Games And Raising Taxes On Middle Class Ohioans

Reps. Fudge, Kaptur, Ryan and Sutton, Chairman Redfern Denounce Tea Party-Run GOP House Caucus For Voting To Raise Taxes On 5.8 Million Ohioans

COLUMBUS – Today Ohio Democrats, including Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-Warrensville Heights), Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Tim Ryan (D-Niles), Betty Sutton (D-Copley) and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern denounced Speaker John Boehner’s Tea Party-run Republican House Caucus for voting down President Obama’s $1,500 payroll tax cut extension and expansion yesterday, opting instead to raise taxes on 5.8 million middle class Ohioans.

"Republicans have just pulled a bait and switch on the American people by taking a bill to conference that has overwhelming bipartisan support. The Tea Party Republicans have revolted again, walking away from a bipartisan agreement and demonstrating that they never intended to give the middle class a tax cut,” said Congresswoman Fudge. "What they don't seem to understand is that there is no more time to waste. Playing political games that deny benefits for 6 million unemployed Americans, including 70,000 Ohioans, is unacceptable. In 11 days, 160 million middle class Americans will see their taxes raised."

She added, “The Senate passed this bipartisan compromise, securing 89 votes including the entire Republican Leadership. By refusing to take an up or down vote, House Republicans are demonstrating their obstruction to helping unemployed and middle class Americans who are still hurting."

Congresswoman Kaptur called out serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney for belittling the payroll tax cut that would benefit 5.8 million Ohioans as just a “temporary little band-aid” before reluctantly supporting it when it was clear that voters overwhelmingly supported it.

“Mitt Romney hasn’t rolled out a plan that would restore economic security for the middle class in Ohio – instead, it gives tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and large corporations while doing next to nothing for middle class families,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “If you want to know how Mitt Romney’s plan contrasts with the President’s plan, take the example of an Ohioan family making $40,000 a year. Thanks to tax cuts enacted by President Obama, in 2011 this household will receive over $1900 in tax cuts. A $700 tax cut for college tuition through the American Opportunity Tax Cut in the Recovery Act, an $800 payroll tax cut and a $421 tax cut on earned income. Under Governor Romney’s plan, the typical Ohio household making $40,000 a year would receive a tax cut worth only $54. He’d eliminate taxes on investment income that help high income families – but do next to nothing for middle class families.”

Congressman Ryan said that House Republicans “need to start acting like adults.”

“Once again, we’re down to the wire on a Tea Party-manufactured crisis that makes a fundamental difference to working people, and, like clockwork, the extremist Republican Tea Party Leadership is doing everything except handling the people’s business," he said. “The Senate usually can’t get consensus on what time it is, but somehow, in the spirit of cooperation, 89 of them managed to put aside their differences to pass a bill that addresses the interests of the middle class for long enough to allow us to craft a more long-term solution. In response, the Republican Tea Party Leadership in the House has set up a showdown, with stakes that are only high for those most in need right now – they are once again holding middle-class Americans hostage for political gain.”

Congressman Ryan added, “Republican House members need to realize that Americans desperately need another $1,000 in their pockets to pay for gas, groceries, or a mortgage; the radicals in Congress need to start acting like adults, get their priorities in order and pass this legislation.”

Congresswoman Sutton said Tea-Party Republicans should immediately join Democrats in passing the tax cut for 160 million Americans.“It is simply absurd that John Boehner and his Tea Party Republicans refuse to allow the House to vote on a bipartisan compromise that Senators Brown and Portman both voted for, and passed by a margin of 89-10,” she said. “The House should vote immediately to pass this bipartisan compromise and prevent a tax hike on 160 million working-class Americans that will help our small businesses and our unemployed. The time is now to come together to protect our middle-class and set aside the partisan rhetoric and games that this extreme Republican House majority is putting before the American people.”

Chairman Chris Redfern said, “From the serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney to House Speaker John Boehner and the Tea Party extremists who dominate the Republican House caucus, Republicans have time and time again aligned themselves with millionaires and billionaires instead of middle class families. So it comes as no surprise that Republicans yet again put politics ahead of the middle class and turned their backs on working families here in Ohio and across the country – voting for a tax hike on 160 million Americans.”

He added, “Their economic policies – just like the Republican budget that Mitt Romney champions, which would end Medicare as we know it, lead to deep cuts in Social Security and decimate investments in education and vital programs that create jobs – would have disastrous consequences for Ohio middle class families who are still struggling to make ends meet.”

Will Josh Mandel Side With Rob Portman Or John Boehner On Payroll Tax Cut Fight?

Bipartisan Legislation To Avoid Tax Increase On Millions Of Ohioans Overwhelmingly Passed Senate With 89 Votes

As Boehner Retreats, Mandel Yet To Reveal How He Would Have Voted On Any Of The Payroll Tax Cut Bills

COLUMBUS, OHIO – With millions of Ohioans facing a tax increase that economists forecast would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and hurt economic growthOhioans are once again wondering where their absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel stands.

Does Mandel support Senator Rob Portman who voted for a bipartisan agreement to extend the payroll tax cut thatoverwhelmingly passed the Senate with 89 votes? Or does Mandel stand with the out of control GOP House caucus led by Eric Cantor John Boehner who “retreated Sunday from his previous support for the package.”

Failure to act means taxes will go up for millions of Ohioans, and yesterday at least five Republican Senators blasted their House counterparts for the obstruction.

Sen. Scott Brown: The House GOP plan is “irresponsible and wrong.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe:  “… There wasn’t an indication that the House would be in disagreement with the Senate’s action”

Sen. Richard Lugar: Noted that “Boehner was under “enormous pressure” from his rank-and-file…”

Sen. Dean Heller: “There is no reason to hold up the short-term extension…”

Sen. Susan Collins: “at this point, we must act, as the Senate has done, to prevent a tax increase…”

Will Josh Mandel once again “refuse to stand up” for Ohio’s middle class?

“Rob Portman supported a bipartisan compromise that garnered 89 votes in the Senate while John Boehner’s ineptitude and inaction has millions of Ohioans facing a tax increase they can’t afford and once more Josh Mandel’s silence is deafening,” said Ohio Democratic Party press secretary Justin Barasky. “Josh Mandel’s history of ducking the issues is well documented but how hard is it to take a stand on whether or not you’re willing to increase taxes on millions of Ohioans? Either Josh Mandel supports the bipartisan compromise that Rob Portman voted for or he stands with John Boehner as the Speaker limps along towards irrelevancy in his own party and drags down Ohio’s middle class with him.”

 

BACKGROUND

Senate “Overwhelmingly Passed” Payroll Tax Extension – 89 Senators Voted For It.  In The fate of a payroll tax cut extension backed by the White House and overwhelmingly passed by the Senate is uncertain after a restive House Republican conference expressed displeasure with the two-month deal. [Washington Post, 12/18/11; Senate Vote 232, 12/17/11]

Speaker Boehner “Retreated From His Previous Support” Of Senate Passed Payroll Tax Cut.  The Washington Post reported “Faced with the uprising on his right flank, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) retreated Sunday from his previous support for the package, saying the House does not expect to approve that plan on Monday night after it returns to Washington.” [Washington Post, 12/18/11]

At Least Five Senate Republicans Have Called Out House Republicans For Opposition To The Bipartisan Senate Payroll Tax Cut.  Politico reported “Since Speaker Boehner Senate Republicans have started bailing on their House counterparts, criticizing the House GOP majority over a plan to reject a Senate-passed payroll tax cut extension.  At least five GOP senators had expressed displeasure with the House on Monday, as they feared House intransigence would lead to a politically and financially painful 2 percent increase in workers’ Social Security taxes on Jan. 1.” [Politico, 12/19/11]

Sen. Scott Brown: “The House Republicans’ plan to scuttle the deal to help middle-class families is irresponsible and wrong.  The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard-working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe:  “… there wasn’t an indication that the House would be in disagreement with the Senate’s action. Nonetheless, what is paramount at this point is that this tax benefit for hardworking Americans not be allowed to lapse.”

Sen. Richard Lugar said he hoped the House would pass the Senate bill later Monday evening, noting that Boehner was under “enormous pressure” from his rank-and-file.

Sen. Dean Heller said “there is no reason to hold up the short-term extension while a more comprehensive deal is being worked out.”

Sen. Susan Collins: “at this point, we must act, as the Senate has done, to prevent a tax increase that will otherwise occur on Jan. 1.”

Congresswoman Kaptur, Lucas County Treasurer Kapszukiewicz Denounce Mitt Romney's Anti-Middle Class Economic Plan and House Republicans For Voting To Raise Taxes On Ohio's Middle Class

Even Romney Acknowledges His Tax Plan Would Amount To "Not a Huge Cut"

COLUMBUS – Today, Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) and Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz held a press conference call to denounce Mitt Romney’s anti-middle class economic plan and House Republicans for voting against President Obama’s middle class tax cut that would allow 5.8 million Ohioans to keep $1,500 more of their family’s hard-earned income. President Obama’s tax plan would help those paying for college tuition, provide expanded payroll tax cuts and additional tax cuts on earned income.

Just this weekend, Mitt Romney claimed that his policies are good for the American middle class. But confronted with a study showing that average Americans would save only $167 under his plan, Romney said, “Well, first of all, a hundred sixty-seven is not zero” and then was forced to acknowledge “it’s not a huge tax cut.” Watch Video Here.

Previously, the serial flip-flopping presidential candidate declared that Obama’s $1,500 middle class tax cut was just a “temporary little band-aid.” $1,500 vs. $167 – go figure.

Please see below for key quotes from Congresswoman Kaptur and Lucas County Treasurer Kapszukiewicz:

Congresswoman Kaptur said, “Mitt Romney hasn’t rolled out a plan that would restore economic security for the middle class in Ohio – instead, it gives tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and large corporations while doing next to nothing for middle class families.”

“If you want to know how Mitt Romney’s plan contrasts with the President’s plan, take the example of an Ohioan family making $40,000 a year. Thanks to tax cuts enacted by President Obama, in 2011 this household will receive over $1900 in tax cuts. A $700 tax cut for college tuition through the American Opportunity Tax Cut in the Recovery Act, an $800 payroll tax cut and a $421 tax cut on earned income. Under Governor Romney’s plan, the typical Ohio household making $40,000 a year would receive a tax cut worth only $54. He’d eliminate taxes on investment income that help high income families – but do next to nothing for middle class families.”

“When it comes to policies that help the middle class, watch what Mitt Romney does, not what he says. His policies gut funding for programs essential to middle class Ohio families, make the middle class foot the bill for more giveaways to millionaires, billionaires and large corporations, and they provide middle class families with very little tax relief.”

Lucas County Treasurer Kapszukiewicz said, “The primary tenet of Mitt Romney’s economic policy is simply to let Wall Street write its own rules again, allowing the same sort of risky financial deals that put our entire economy at risk and held the middle class hostage.”

“The President made a very tough decision to extend a loan to save 1.4 million jobs, and Mitt Romney opposed it. The President invested in manufacturing and new exports. When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts he vetoed funding for manufacturing and criticized the President for encouraging young people to go into manufacturing. And Mitt Romney has endorsed a… Republican budget plan that would cut college tuition funding in half, end Medicare as we know it, gut Social Security, and wipe our investments in research and development.”

“Mitt Romney is so out of touch with the middle class that he believes middle class people can afford making a $10,000 wager as if $10,000 was pocket change. That’s how out-of-touch he is, and he and his party, today, said no to meaningful tax relief that could have meant $1,900 of tax cuts for the average Ohioan. And once again, it’s an example of [Romney] and his party standing with the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.”

For complete audio of this afternoon’s conference call, click here.

Ohio Democratic Party Statement in Response to Governor Kasich's End-of-Year Press Conference

COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Seth Bringman issued the following statement in response to Governor John Kasich’s end-of-year news conference:

“On Election Night, voters were asked if they supported the direction in which John Kasich was taking our state, and they answered with a resounding ‘no.’ From his attacks on workers’ rights to voting rights to women’s rights, John Kasich has not stood with Ohio’s middle class in the past year. And rather than bringing our state together to solve problems, John Kasich has alienated and vilified Ohioans who disagree with him. Unless Governor Kasich reaches across the aisle and stops attacking Ohio’s workers, he will spend the next three years as a lame duck.”

Highlights of Governor Kasich’s first year in office include:

• Sending 16,000 infrastructure jobs to other states. [Examiner, 11/6/10]

• Running his administration in secret. [Columbus Dispatch, 1/5/11]

• Giving huge salary increases to his political cronies. [Innovation Ohio, 9/28/11]

• Compiling a non-diverse cabinet that doesn’t reflect Ohio. [Plain Dealer, 1/13/11]

• Unconstitutionally appointing an out-of-state Development Director. [Plunderbund, 3/18/11]

• Turning over economic development to a board that operates in secret. [Morning Journal, 2/9/11]

• Saying that those who want transparency are “hurting our kids.” [Plain Dealer, 12/16/10]

• Telling an African American State Senator, “I don’t need your people.” [Politico, 1/28/11]

• Threatening to run people over with a bus if they didn’t agree with him. [Plunderbund, 1/22/11]

• Calling a police officer an “idiot.” [Columbus Dispatch, 2/16/11]

• Charging taxpayers for security upgrades to his home. [Columbus Dispatch, 1/2/11]

• Becoming the most unpopular governor in America. [Huffington Post, 9/30/11]

• Increasing state government spending by $5 billion. [Executive Budget FY2012-13, submitted 3/20/11]

• Cutting $3 billion from education. [ibid]

• Imposing back-door tax increases. [ibid]

• Cutting funds for local services like fire departments by 50 percent. [ibid]

• Wasting taxpayer money on excessive flights in his two taxpayer-funded planes. [Dayton Daily News, 5/16/11]

• Supported anti-choice legislation. [Reuters, 7/20/11]

• Signing a voter suppression bill into law that makes elections less fair and less accessible. [Columbus Dispatch, 9/28/11]

• Taking credit for auto industry success even though he did not support recovery efforts. [Chronicle Telegram, 12/7/11]

• Operating in secret as a member of the Apportionment Board. [Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting, 12/16/11]

• Signing into law an unfair, undemocratic and gerrymandered Congressional map. [Associated Press, 9/22/11]

And most importantly:

Championing an anti-middle class collective bargaining law that was overturned by 62 percent of voters.

Josh Mandel Should Announce Support For Sen. Brown's Bipartisan Bill That Could Lead To 4,000 Jobs To Southern Ohio At Piketon Plant

Absentee Treasurer Was Embarrassingly Ignorant Of Piketon Plant’s Importance, Changed Tune After Touring Plant

After House Republicans Failed To Move Forward, Sen. Brown And Republican Sen. Rob Portman Introduced Legislation To Secure Funding For Project

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Perhaps due to his lack of “focus” on his current job, Ohio’s absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel initially found himself embarrassingly ignorant of how important the Piketon project is to Southern Ohio. Days later Mandel took a break from all the out of state fundraising and toured the plant, coming around to Sen. Brown’s position that 4,000 new jobs would indeed be something he could support.

In light of the recent decision by Speaker Boehner to omit funding for the project in a last minute spending bill, Senator Brown and Republican Senator Rob Portman introduced legislation to secure funding that will allow the project to continue moving forward.

If Josh Mandel truly believes Sherrod Brown is right about how important the Piketon project is and that Ohio needs 4,000 jobs, he should immediately announce his support for Sen. Brown’s  bipartisan bill.

“Josh Mandel’s initial ignorance of how important the Piketon project’s 4,000 jobs would be to Ohio was embarrassing, but he now claims to support the project and should immediately announce his support for Sherrod Brown’s bipartisan bill to move this forward,” said Ohio Democratic Party press secretary Justin Barasky. “If Josh Mandel genuinely believes Sherrod Brown is right about the Piketon project he should do his job as a statewide elected official and publicly support Sen. Brown’s bipartisan way forward while putting pressure on anyone who seeks to delay 4,000 potential jobs headed to Ohio.”

 

BACKGROUND

Mandel Said He Needed To “Learn More” About Piketon Plant Before Supporting 4,000 Ohio Jobs.  In September, the Columbus Dispatch reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said he would have to “learn more about it” before deciding whether to support a Maryland company’s bid for a $2 billion federal loan guarantee to launch a uranium enrichment plant in southern Ohio.  Both Republicans and Democrats in Ohio’s congressional delegation have been largely united in their support of USEC’s plan to launch the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon. The company says if the project becomes a reality, it could bring 4,000 jobs to the state.” [Columbus Dispatch, 9/27/11]

Days Later: Mandel Tours Piketon Plant For An Hour And Decides 4,000 Jobs To Ohio Are Important.  In October, the Dayton Daily News reported “After touring a southern Ohio plant that promises to deliver thousands of jobs if the federal government agrees to a $2 billion federal loan guarantee, Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel now says he supports the proposal…Mandel, a Republican who hopes to unseat Democrat Sherrod Brown in the 2012 elections, said he visited the plant Thursday morning for about an hour and ‘I came away a supporter.’  ‘As Treasurer of the state of Ohio, I support the project because it means about 4,000 jobs to our state,’ he said.” [Dayton Daily News, 10/8/11]

Brown Introduced Bipartisan Bill With Sen. Portman To Secure Funding For Piketon Project And Southern Ohio Jobs.  In December, the Associated Press reported “Ohio's two U.S. senators plan on introducing a bill to authorize $150 million in spending to help a uranium enrichment project in southern Ohio stay afloat, after money for the project was missing from a last-minute spending bill passed on Saturday…Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman spoke with Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Saturday and agreed to sponsor bipartisan legislation to move the project forward.” [Associated Press, 12/19/11]

Who Seems Busy To You?

News 5 WLTW – VIDEO: Sen. Brown Announces Moratorium On Postal Closures

Brown announced an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service that puts a moratorium on closures of post offices and processing centers until May 15. The move would allow Congress more time to enact reforms.

19 Action News – VIDEO: Post Office closings delayed until May

One hundred and twenty post offices and ten mail processing facilities were targeted for closure in Ohio, and Brown has sent multiple letters to Postmaster General Patrick Donohue outlining concerns with the closures, which could lead to significant job losses, delayed mail, and deteriorated service.

WDTN – VIDEO: Postal center closings on hold

A new plan is in the works to help Dayton postal workers whose jobs are on the line. Senator Sherrod Brown said lawmakers convinced the post master to delay any decisions about closing facilities until next May.

Canton Repository - Local mail processing centers gain time

The announced moratorium is the result of an agreement with a group of about 17 U.S. senators, which includes U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

Meanwhile, “Treasurer” Josh Mandel was fundraising in NYC again yesterday, still “too busy”to speak at the Akron Press Club.

Chairman Redfern Calls on Speaker Boehner to Release Documents, Come Clean About Quid Pro Quo in Ohio Redistricting Scandal

COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern called on Speaker John Boehner to come clean about the role his team played in Ohio’s brewing GOP redistricting scandal.

The Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting released a report, which detailed numerous unethical and potentially criminal findings, including the Republicans’ use of $9,600 in taxpayer money to pay for a secret “bunker” where the gerrymandered maps were drawn, payments totaling $210,000 to two Republican former state employees, and how “Team Boehner” directed Ohio GOP map-drawers and controlled the process.

During a conference call with reporters today, Chairman Redfern exposed the level of control that Speaker Boehner and his aides had over Ohio’s redistricting process. He pointed to specific documentation that Team Boehner moved a corporate headquarters of a major political contributor into a different Congressional district and said that it was obvious that Speaker Boehner also took a similar action in a Columbus-based district.

Redfern also highlighted a Canton Repository article from last month in which Speaker Boehner’s staff lied about the extent of the Speaker’s role in the process.

For full audio of today’s press conference call, click here.

Chairman Redfern’s prepared remarks follow:

Thank you for joining the call today.

We wanted to hold this call specifically for national reporters to discuss the involvement of House Speaker John Boehner in the redistricting process here in Ohio.

Now, we knew all along that Speaker Boehner was going to play some role in the process of Congressional redistricting in his home state. That did not surprise us.

What is surprising – or alarming, rather – is how much control Speaker Boehner and his team had over this process. And what is particularly alarming is how he and his team strong-armed the Republican map drawers into creating district lines so as to benefit Republican contributors.

One example was revealed yesterday by The Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting. I encourage you to read the report and we will be happy to provide it for you.

Among other unethical and potentially criminal findings, this report outlines the following:

On the eve of the proposed redistricting map being introduced in the legislature, Speaker Boehner’s top political aide, Tom Whatman, sent an e-mail at 9:28 PM to the Republican staffers who drew the new Congressional map. The map was already approved by Republican leadership in both chambers. But Whatman wrote the Republican staffers and said, and I quote, “can we do a small carve out down 77 in Canton to put Timken headquarters in the 16th” Congressional District? Within 8 minutes, Ray DiRossi, one of the Republican map-drawers in Ohio, replied and confirmed that the change would be made.

Tom Whatman, executive director of Team Boehner, then responded with this, and I quote: “Thanks guys. Very important to someone important to us all.”

William Timken is one of the biggest Republican donors, both in Ohio and nationally, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Speaker Boehner, the NRCC and Congressman Jim Renacci. The rolodex of Team Boehner and the NRCC also includes multiple members of the Timken family and Timken executives like CEO James Griffith.

Let me sum this up: Hours before the Congressional map was introduced, a specific change was made by Team Boehner to move the district lines at the bequest of a major Republican donor.

Sometimes it’s difficult in politics to prove a quid pro quo. Sometimes it’s not completely clear that a major donor received a big political favor in exchange for campaign contributions. But in Mr. Boehner’s case, he went out of his way to move the headquarters of one of his biggest contributors to a new Congressional district because, by the words of Boehner’s top political aide, it was quote, “very important,” to that contributor that he do so. This isn’t an accusation of quid pro quo. It’s the definition of quid pro quo.

But it doesn’t stop there.

If the paper trail from Boehner’s political team is any guide, we know that a similar decision was made with regard to the 15th Congressional District, the district currently represented by Congressman Steve Stivers.

The downtown Columbus business district was sliced out of a Democratic, Columbus-based Congressional District and moved into Congressman Stivers’ district.

This peninsula is an area a few blocks wide with little residential population. It contains the corporate headquarters of Ohio’s major financial and insurance companies. There was no legitimate reason for Team Boehner and its puppets to remove it from a Democratic district to include it in the 15th Congressional District.

Now, these are good Ohio companies. They are major employers in Central Ohio and throughout the state, and their employees are part of the backbone of our communities. But we must question why Speaker Boehner and his team drew district lines in the best interest of major campaign contributors – namely, the banking and insurance industry and the Timken Company – and not in the best interest of the voters of Ohio.

Perhaps not surprising: The industry that was moved into Congressman Stivers’ district is the same industry that Congressman Stivers once lobbied for. As a former banking lobbyist, Congressman Steve Stivers clearly benefits from having many of his former clients purposely drawn into his district.

If Speaker Boehner and his chief political aide Tom Whatman had nothing to do with the meticulous carving of the downtown Columbus financial peninsula for its inclusion in the 15th Congressional district, we welcome him to produce all communications he had with the Republican map drawers.

But we know what happened here.

Republicans in Ohio, with Speaker Boehner giving the marching orders, drew district lines to not only protect their own political futures, but also the protect the best interests of their biggest campaign contributors.

And not only did Speaker Boehner’s team play a major role in the redistricting process, they also lied about the extent of that role.

When asked last month by the Canton Repository if the Speaker was involved in carving out the now famous Timken peninsula, Boehner’s team responded, “The Speaker has no official role in the redistricting process. Your questions would be best directed at the Legislature, as redistricting is its responsibility.”

But the facts are damning. Speaker Boehner CONTROLLED the redistricting process, and the documents that have surfaced thus far prove that.

He controlled that process so much that his top political aide changed the map just hours before it was introduced, changing it without the knowledge or input of the Republican Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder, the Republican Senate President, or the Republican sponsor of the redistricting bill.

John Boehner controlled this process so much, in fact, that Senate President Tom Niehaus ignored fellow members of his Senate leadership at the request of Tom Whatman, who, again, is the executive director of Team Boehner. The Senate President e-mailed Boehner’s top political henchman, reassuring him, quote “I am still committed to ending up with a map that Speaker Boehner fully supports, with or without votes from two members of leadership” end quote.

The next morning, when Ohio’s Senate President was presented with a final map, he immediately asked, quote, “Did Whatman sign off?”

John Boehner and his team controlled the unfair, secretive and unethical redistricting process from beginning to end.

Today, I am challenging Speaker Boehner to release any and all communications between him or his team and all individuals involved in the map-drawing process here in Ohio. The voters of Ohio deserve to know the extent of the role he played that led to the Republicans’ gerrymandered Congressional map.

Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.